You Do What?

When Dava Newman goes to a cocktail party and people ask, “What do you do?” she says, “I’m a rocket scientist.” Then they laugh and say, “What do you really do?”

But the 36-year-old associate professor, who has three degrees in aerospace engineering, really is a rocket scientist. “Maybe I don’t seem like one,” she says, “but it’s a lot of fun to be able to say it, and I love it. I have the best job in the world.”

by Liz Karagianis

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Assoc. Prof. Dava Newman, shown donning a space helmet, works to keep astronauts alive in dire situations. She recently won MIT's MacVicar award for great teaching. Photo: Ed Quinn